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Friday, 1 July 2011

Staying PC when it comes to a right royal bargain

Bargain hunting during the sales is the most fun you can have even when the last thing you need is more clothes. It’s a primal rite of summer, where the hunter-gatherer  tracks down, captures and brings back that bargain trophy to her lair. There is a very fine line (as discussed in Wednesday’s blog between what is a genuine find and those other unworn ‘bargains’ glaring accusingly at you whenever you open your over-stuffed wardrobe. But it’s during the sales that us grown women are separated from the girls, when, ahem,  age and maturity inspire classic purchases rather than rash impulse buying. Unfortunately, being separated from the girls also means that that true bargain buy is only left in a girly size 8.
Still, Looking Our Best uses this time of year to venture beyond her natural habitat into more unchartered territory (the designer floor, Brown Thomas, in other words). As LOB found yesterday evening, there are classics here that won’t scream summer 2011, both for aspiring young duchesses and mature commoners alike. Timeless black dresses by Joseph (reduced to around the €120 mark) caught LOB’s gimlet eye. In the Paul Costelloe section (an enduring LOB favourite) , there was no sign of Carole Middleton. As we know, the royal mother in law is a big fan of our Paul (as is young Mrs William herself, apparently). But the former air hostess and queen of Party Pieces didn’t get where she is by forking out full price for designer style and (as reported in today’s Irish Independent   she snapped up this fuchsia print dress 

in the sales in London for €132,  and sported it at Wimbledon yesterday. 

Whatever of floral patterns, white linen has become something of a summer cliché for us mid-lifers, but the  knee length dress (at top of the blog)  by the royal favourite,  with pleat detail, roomy side pockets, belt and cap sleeves, now reduced (from €185) to €129, is a comfortably elegant variation on the look.   100% linen (as well as silk and pure new wool) is a Costelloe signature and other classic linens in the sale are these chalky white trousers, 

now €89 (approx) , which are less baggy and more flattering than similar styles elsewhere. 

The tailored linen shirt with plaquet front comes in a flattering shade of sky blue, €109 (approx) and would work well with those simple trousers. LOB’s favourite among the reductions is this more expensive (and isn’t it always) tailored black jacket, now €149 (down from €279). 

In wool crepe, with striped silk lining, the jacket is slightly fitted with gentle pleating at the back waist to give a feminine line. This is the sort of  purchase that eventually pays for itself because you will wear it consistently (or so the theory goes).  Costelloe’s mantra has been that he designs clothes for ‘real women’ and which bear just a passing nod to the whims of fashion. As for Carole Middleton, the choices of the 56 year old are increasingly scrutinised by the style  police who insist on strict application of the ‘mutton monitor’ (  For now, her adherence to PC (Paul Costelloe) should keep the critics happy. After all, she’s stopped chewing gum...


  1. Gorgeous PC Jacket! Is it compatible with Macs?!


  2. Wool is micro soft - and great for office